Monday, June 22, 2009

Not a single respectful, or disrespectful, for that matter, lebanese restaurant will be left without another wonderful salad on it's menu.

It's called tabbuleh [T-UH-B-OO-L-E].

This particular DELICIOUSNESS is also extremely healthy for you, packed with all kinds of essential vitamins, and, get this, has a very few ingredients in it.

Basically, it's just some greens, 1 (get this, ONE!) vegetable, some bulgur and dressing.

Isn't it nifty?
Yeah, i know!

Actually, americans might have encountered this traditional lebanese salad in various health-type food stores, like Whole Foods (oh, dear, how do i miss thou!)under the moniker of "meditteranean cracked wheat salad", or "mediterranean parsley salad" or some like that.

Because, you know, "meditteranean" is waaay fancier sounding...

Anywho,here is what you need:

1 bunch of parsley
1/2 half of bunch of fresh mint, leaves only
1 or 2 tomatoes
1 spring of green onions
1/2 cup of fine bulgur (hold on, i'll tell you how to get it from your local Kroger)

couple of lemons
1 tsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper

First things first:
Go to your fav supermarket and buy "Near East Taboule Wheat Salad Mix". Open the box and thrash the seasoning pouch.

Congratulations! You just got yourself some fine bulgur!

Or, if you know the way around your ethnic store (remember sashaying there all confident-like to buy sumac for your fattoush?) - ask the cashier there for the finest bulgur.

Now, go and boil some water in the tea pot. Put bulgur in the heat-proof bowl, pour boiling water over it (cover completely) and cover the bowl, so the bulgur has the chance to absorb the water.
Leave it alone.
I like to do this part at least 20 min. before i start preparing the salad itself. That way, bulgur has time to absorb the liquid and cool down to room temperature. Warm bulgur is NOT delish.

Chop tomatoes (bite-size), throw'em into the salad bowl and sprinkle with salt and 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon.
Chop the whole bunch of parsley and the mint. Try to do your best - it really needs to be chopped nicely, nobody wants to choke on the spring of parsley, so do apply yourself.
Throw'em into the salad bowl.
Chop that lonely spring of onion, leave it on the board. Sprinkle it with a bit of salt, a bit of pepper and 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon. Rub it all with your fingers into the bits of chopped onion.

Yeah, it's fun!

Throw the violated onion into the bowl.

Go check on your bulgur now.
It should be room temperature, soft, not crunchy. Grab it from the bowl with your hand and give it a gentle squeeze. That way you'll get rid of all the excess water. I don't like water in my salad. Do you??

Dump the handful of squeezed bulgur into your salad bowl. Squeeze the rest of the bulgur in that manner and you dump all of it into the bowl.

Juice your lemons into the bowl, add as much EVOO as you like.
Add S&P.
Mix the salad.
Adjust the seasoning, mix again and eat up!

This recipe is adapted from my absolute fav middle eastern cookbook "The Fragrance of the Earth" by Nada Saleh.
I don't think this book is published anymore, but i just found out that Ms. Saleh has another book - "New Flavours of the Lebanese Table".
It's available on amazon.


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